Updated: July 23, 2021 06:20 PM
Created: July 23, 2021 05:31 PM
Two days after being convicted of misdemeanor obstruction of legal process in Hennepin County Court, embattled state Rep. John Thompson was granted a delay in providing a defense in an ethics case against him in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
"These are waters I've never been in before and I'd like to ask for a little more time to get legal representation here with me," Thompson said at the outset of the virtual hearing. He said he met with an attorney Thursday and had another meeting set for Friday but still needed time to hire someone to represent him.
The request for a continuance was granted by House Ethics Committee Chairman Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, over the objections of the three Republicans on the panel.
"I just find it a little disturbing that we're going to have to continue this hearing in light of the fact we all should have been prepared today," said Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton.
Although Thompson was not prepared to offer a defense, Davnie allowed Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, to proceed with making his case against the DFL House member.
"This is about the reputation of the Minnesota House of Representatives," Lucero said. "John Thompson is a disgrace to this institution."
Lucero says Thompson called him a racist twice during a June 19 House floor debate about police reform over Lucero's comments about supporting the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.
"John Thompson's comments were destructive to the integrity of this body and its adopted code of conduct," Lucero says. "John Thompson's slanderous and malicious comment served to impugn my character and reputation."
Thompson will get a chance to defend himself and explain his remarks when the hearing continues sometime in the next week.
Republicans are still considering other ethics complaints against Thompson regarding past allegations of domestic abuse and questions about his residency stemming from a July 4 traffic stop when he presented St. Paul Police with a Wisconsin driver's license. He was cited for driving with suspended privileges in Minnesota for failure to pay child support.
Thompson apologized Thursday to the St. Paul Police sergeant who pulled him over after initially saying he was "racially profiled" and stopped for "driving while Black."
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